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'Hug your grandma': Bemidji author hopes new book will inspire children

Jan 05, 2020 08:57AM ● By Editor

From the Bemidji Pioneer - January 3, 2020

John Eggers has been teaching and/or writing about education for more than 55 years. In the past few years, he has focused on “Project Graduate,” with a mission to inspire every student in the area to finish high school.

That goal was the inspiration for Eggers’ 23rd book, which is out this month. It’s called “Remember to Hug Your Grandma (and other important reminders for children).” It’s a 36-page full-color book, and each reminder page includes one of the author’s photographs to go along with the message. Each page also includes his most important reminder: “Remember to graduate.”

“To see kids struggle who don’t have their diploma, it’s heartbreaking,” said Eggers, 76. “This book I think will generate a new audience of parents and grandparents who maybe have not heard about this (Project Graduate) goal yet.”

The book’s reminders range from the serious (Remember to show respect to everyone) to the not-so-serious (Remember to pick a dandelion). Eggers considers all of them important in shaping children’s thoughts and actions.

Pages from John Eggers book Remember to Hug Your Grandma and other important reminders for children Submitted art
Pages from John Eggers' book “Remember to Hug Your Grandma (and other important reminders for children)." Submitted art. 

“The brains of young children begin to look for patterns at an early age,” he writes in the book’s introduction. “Children feel comfortable with patterns and routines, which act like a security blanket … The more the book is read, the greater the likelihood that these patterns are formed and the greater the likelihood that 100% of our young people will graduate and will hug their grandmas. That’s a great combination.”

Eggers wrote his first book, “Will You Help Me Create the Future Today?” in 1974 when he was a professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The activity book was written to help teachers remind K-12 students of the need to not only think of today but think of the future. 

“At the time there was a movement in education called “Future Studies” but there wasn’t anything for teachers,” said Eggers, who has written a weekly education column for the Bemidji Pioneer since 1992. His teaching career included schools in Camden, N.J.; Tehran, Iran; and Red Lake.

Eggers said “Remember to Hug Your Grandma” is a book that children as young as toddlers can learn from.

“I’ve got a granddaughter who is 2,” he said, “and I can see myself reading this to her and showing her the pictures of puppies and kitties and the grandparents and the snow, and I think she can begin to relate to that, it will resonate with her.

“I think the book is needed,” he added. “I think parents will want it, I think grandparents will want it, I think teachers will want it. I can’t see anybody turning this book down and saying, ‘Gee, I don’t know, I’m not sure if it will work for my kids. But it has to work, because parents need help parenting.”

To read the original article and see related reporting, follow this link to the Bemidji Pioneer website.
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